Destination Venice. Viola Arrivabene’s guide of her native city’s arts, crafts and gastronomy

Starting from May 22, Venice is hosting 17th International Architecture Biennale, attracting again design lovers from all over the world. Native Venetian, designer of ViBi Venezia traditional velvet shoes and LESSLESS ambassador, Viola Arrivabene shares her favorite and less-known spots in the city to enjoy on a weekend in the lagoon.


What’s your favorite architectural sight in Venice, ancient or contemporary?

Viola Arrivabene: It may be an obvious choice, but the Santa Maria della Salute never ceases to amaze me. Like a rocket ship waiting to take off, it is unlike any church I know. It’s totally awesome in its beauty of a giant cream cake. 

In which sestiere (neighborhood) do you live and what are your everyday go-to spots?

We grew up in San Polo, very close to the Rialto Bridge. My usual day in the neighborhood would be like this:

Coffee and little pizzetta at Pasticceria Rizzardini 

Fresh fish shopping at Mercato del Pesce 

Lunch at Antiche Carampane

Sunset Aperol spritz at Naranzaria 

Dinner at La Madonna

Name some less-known attractions absolutely worth seeing?

My favorite would definitely be Libreria Acqua Alta bookstore! And for shopping, it’s at Giberto Venezia table tops at Aman hotel. Art-wise, make sure to stop by at Alma Zevi gallery! 

#Sustainable travel: your tips for visiting Venice consciously?

 Walk everywhere! There is no better feeling then being lost in Venice.

You seem to be a skilled cook: what is your signature Venetian dish to prepare?

I think Branzino al Sale (salt-baked seabass) is definitely one of them! Here’s my recipe:


1 kg sea salt and 1 kg rock sea salt

Sage, rosemary and parsley, 3 branches each

1 clove of garlic

2 lemons

4 egg whites

800 g of seabass (ask your fisherman to clean it for you)


Preheat the oven to 200 °C

Chop finely the herbs and garlic, add lemon zest. Put 1 tablespoon inside the fish, keep the rest for later

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then add slowly the herbs and zest mixture, and add salt

Put the fish into a pan and cover it with the mixture to form a solid crust

Roast for 40 minutes until the crust is well baked

Remove from the oven, let it cool for 20 minutes. Break the crust and serve the fish hot!

Where do you shop for unique and beautiful local craft and design?

Obviously, I recommend our Venetian slippers by ViBiVenezia – it’s a classic in town! Giberto Venezia is my suggestion for Murano glass table tops and sculptures. And Laguna B is for glassware.

Your off-the-bedroom tips on styling loungewear in the city? 

Make sure you have a pair of velvet sleepers by Vibi! And then add a fun straw bag. Top with a piece of Madina Visconti jewelry.